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Ex.01: Hello, My Name Is

Design a logo for yourself in less than 30 minutes.

I'm starting off with a freebie! Today I’m going to share my own self-branding process (which is always in progress!)

Designing for yourself is one of the toughest projects, which is why if you do this book from start to finish, don’t tackle this one first. In fact, I don’t advise you to brand yourself based on like one thirty-minute brainstorm / doodle session either. On the other hand, you MIGHT come up with something awesome—don’t let me stop you! In my experience though, branding is something that evolves over time, whether it’s for a company or for yourself.

That said, I didn’t start thinking seriously about my own brand until I was given the class assignment to come up with a logo for myself.


(Forgive the image quality, the only pictures I have were taken on an old iPhone.)

Ok, these were the first business cards I ever came up with. My main goal was to incorporate my shiny Stardream cardstock paper that I was so in love with at the time (still am, not gonna lie). The logo is a flame because my nickname as a child was “firecracker” (my birthday is right around Independence Day). They're round because I had a burning desire to create a circle business card. That's my rationale.

The problem: They're round. Might it be hard to hold on to, get lost easily? Then someone pointed out that the logo looked like, uh, a design one might use for the “VJJ Chronicles” (as it was called at my school). Then I ran into printing hell when I ordered a run of like 500 circle business cards and ALL of them came out off-center. Luckily I got a refund, but that was the final nail in the coffin on this design. I still like this concept, but I knew I could come up with something better.


Handmade business cards! Above, three different concepts

Six months later: I’m still trying to work circles into this design without being obnoxious. Notice the polka dots. Still using Stardream though.

The problem: While I like these, they came on too strong for my taste—too much contrast. Generally I’m mellow and easy to work with (despite what I said about being a “firecracker”), and I don’t want to give a client the wrong impression. I submitted this design for another class, but didn’t love it.


In the break before my final quarter of school, I reimagined my last design. I thought much more deeply. What is it I really do? What do I want to do? What do I love, visually? How can I combine those in the simplest, most honest way possible?

What do I do? Well, I draw, I concept, I come up with ideas, and then I make them happen. But it has to start with a pencil. So I came up with the idea of an animated logo that morphs from pencil to idea and back again.

What do I love? I love simplicity. I love clean, elegant design, even when it’s not always what I do or what is necessary for a project. I love subtle little hints that you don’t catch the first time—It’s only when you go back later that you see it. Lastly, I wanted to do something cool, unique and interactive with my business cards that would make people want to hold onto them.

The end result is what you see here.

The challenge: I didn’t want to give up my polka dots. So I had to figure out how to incorporate them in a sophisticated way. The obvious answer, to me, was SPOT UV! I was obsessed with the idea of having the card look blank, but just when you turn them a certain way, bam, polka dots. You may have to look really closely to see them in this picture, but the dots are there!

(P.S. I got my cards printed at Jukebox Print)

Phew! I promise not all my posts will be this long in the future. What do you think of the self-branding process?

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